Monday 1 June 1663

Begun again to rise betimes by 4 o’clock, and made an end of “The Adventures of Five Houres,” and it is a most excellent play.

So to my office, where a while and then about several businesses, in my way to my brother’s, where I dined (being invited) with Mr. Peter and Dean Honiwood, where Tom did give us a very pretty dinner, and we very pleasant, but not very merry, the Dean being but a weak man, though very good.

I was forced to rise, being in haste to St. James’s to attend the Duke, and left them to end their dinner; but the Duke having been a-hunting to-day, and so lately come home and gone to bed, we could not see him, and Mr. Coventry being out of the house too, we walked away to White Hall and there took coach, and I with Sir J. Minnes to the Strand May-pole; and there ’light out of his coach, and walked to the New Theatre, which, since the King’s players are gone to the Royal one, is this day begun to be employed by the fencers to play prizes at. And here I came and saw the first prize I ever saw in my life: and it was between one Mathews, who did beat at all weapons, and one Westwicke, who was soundly cut several times both in the head and legs, that he was all over blood: and other deadly blows they did give and take in very good earnest, till Westwicke was in a most sad pickle. They fought at eight weapons, three bouts at each weapon. It was very well worth seeing, because I did till this day think that it has only been a cheat; but this being upon a private quarrel, they did it in good earnest; and I felt one of their swords, and found it to be very little, if at all blunter on the edge, than the common swords are. Strange to see what a deal of money is flung to them both upon the stage between every bout. But a woful rude rabble there was, and such noises, made my head ake all this evening. So, well pleased for once with this sight, I walked home, doing several businesses by the way. In my way calling to see Commissioner Pett, who lies sick at his daughter, a pretty woman, in Gracious Street, but is likely to be abroad again in a day or two. At home I found my wife in bed all this day … [of her months. – L&M]

I went to see Sir Wm. Pen, who has a little pain of his gout again, but will do well. So home to supper and to bed.

This day I hear at Court of the great plot which was lately discovered in Ireland, made among the Presbyters and others, designing to cry up the Covenant, and to secure Dublin Castle and other places; and they have debauched a good part of the army there, promising them ready money.1 Some of the Parliament there, they say, are guilty, and some withdrawn upon it; several persons taken, and among others a son of Scott’s, that was executed here for the King’s murder.

What reason the King hath, I know not; but it seems he is doubtfull of Scotland: and this afternoon, when I was there, the Council was called extraordinary; and they were opening the letters this last post’s coming and going between Scotland and us and other places. Blessed be God, my head and hands are clear, and therefore my sleep safe. The King of France is well again.

35 Annotations

First Reading

TerryF  •  Link

"[The prize fight] was very well worth seeing, because I did till this day think that it has only been a cheat; but this being upon a private quarrel, they did it in good earnest....Strange to see what a deal of money is flung to them both upon the stage between every bout. But a wo[e]ful rude rabble there was, and such noises...."

The "private quarrel" bit acted out/played up on the telly in professional wrestling matches in the US before the cheering "woeful rude rabble" in 2006 is over 343 years old.

Samuel, you've been gulled. Man of the world? not yet OR not lowbrow enough to be one. Hang around.

TerryF  •  Link

And, of course, the usual Wheatley elision:

"At home I found my wife in bed all this day . . . . "

L&M have: "At home I find my wife in bed all this day of her months."

Does anyone else wonder whether there was a 17th-century remedy for menses besides bedrest - for the well-off.
(Has Elizabeth a flask under the covers?)

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"Blessed be God, my head and hands are clear, and therefore my sleep safe."

If only the one could always ensure the other...

TerryF  •  Link

(Perhaps a rude or uninformed question - about the flask.)

Pedro  •  Link

"What reason the King hath, I know not; but it seems he is doubtfull of Scotland:"

It could be safe to say, that like his old man he did not like the Scots.

Summary from Charles II by Antonia Fraser…

After Charles had sworn the oath in Scotland, the Kirk pressed on him, amongst other humiliations, the need to denounce his mother and father, that there must have been a measure of revenge in it against the whole House of Stuart. A day was appointed to bewail the sins of the late King…

The mixture of religious fanaticism and low living did not endear itself to the newly acclaimed King of Scotland.

To Dr. King, Dean of Tuam (Anglican), he observed in conversation “The Scots have dealt very ill with me, very ill.”

He had written to Nicolas that it was difficult to conceive the villainy in Scotland “Indeed it has done me a great deal of good, for nothing could have confirmed me more to the Church of England than being here seeing their hypocrisy.”

In March of 62 he had carelessly remarked to Clarendon “For my part, rebel to rebel, I had rather trust a Papist rebel than a Presbyterian one.” He is also quoted as saying “Was it possible for a man to be a Presbyterian and a gentleman?”

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"Begun again to rise betimes by 4 o’clock"

Another indication of what Sam considers "betimes" (though I'd thought 5:00 was betimes, and 4:00 "very betimes").

dirk  •  Link

Irish affairs: the Blood’s Plot

Some extra info, from the Carte Papers, Bodleian Library…

A letter from Sir Arthur Forbes to the Duke of Ormond, 22 May:
There is just ground to suspect "some sudden design" against the State. The people generally, hereabouts, seem to apprehend present trouble ... Some have been known to say that the Castle of Dublin is the place aimed at ...

Dublin Castle, 23 May:
a proclamation by the Duke of Ormond, Lord Lieutenant and Council of Ireland, "for the apprehension of Thomas Blood, and others, concerned in a traitorous conspiracy for surprising and taking his Majesty's Castle of Dublin" (sixteen signatures).

A letter from Ormond to the King
Dublin, 30 May 1663:
"The late design was much more general than the writer at first believed it to be. It is very probable that, notwithstanding this disappointment, the like will be again undertaken, unless such use shall be made of the discovery as may let the conspirators see that there is no probability of success, and a certainty of ruin to the contrivers, if they fail ... "

dirk  •  Link

Blood's Plot - cont'd

Letter from Ormond to Bennet,
Dublin, 30 May 1663

... "It will be impossible to get full evidence against any of the conspirators, but at the price of pardoning some, to give testimony against the rest ...


Letter from Ormond to Clarendon,
Dublin Castle, 3 June 1663

Imparts various particulars concerning the late Conspiracy against the King's Government, in which, he says, "it is evident many of the disaffected subjects of Scottish birth & extraction have had a great part in the contrivance; and more were to have had their hands in the execution".

dirk  •  Link

"What reason the King hath, I know not; but it seems he is doubtfull of Scotland."

(From a newsletter, addressed by Mr Ross, from the Court at Whitehall, to Sir George Lane, at Dublin Castle)

Whitehall, 25 May 1663.
... in Scotland, upon occasion of a Minister being put into a living by the Bishop of the diocese, "contrary to the humour of some seditious schismatics", the women of the place fell upon him, and put a stop to the induction, whereupon, by order of the Council, the husbands were imprisoned; and a troop of Horse sent to keep the peace. --- Other "traitorous practices" in various places are noticed.

The Carte Papers, Bodleian Library…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Terry, I'd think it more likely Bess has a good...Or racy...French novel under the covers.

"The shirt torn from his chest by the foul D'Arcy's wicked sword cut, Raoul flexed his manly..."

"Bess? Feeling any better? I had the most fascinating day at the office compiling my new book of contracts...The one on shore supplies, not the one on sea gear."


"Right. Well, I'll head over to see the Penns. Sir Will's got a touch of the gout again. Back soon."


"God, Ted...This is truly the most excellent place Rufus has sent us yet."

"And Mr. Pepys the most excellent host, Bill." Clink of glasses...

"Not to mention Bess..."

Whoa...Both shake themselves to express their appreciation of Bess' divine excellence. The said Bess beaming happily at the time travelers.

"Uh, not meaning to offend, dude Samuel."

"No, no way, dude."

(Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

Australian Susan  •  Link

Remedies for "the months"
I used to curl up in bed with a hot water bottle or two, the cat, a couple of paracetamol and a good book. I no longer need to (age), but maybe I could convince my husband........ ("It's the HRT side effects, dear. Sorry, cannot do accounts, proof read reports, answer the phone, book flights etc etc.")
Oops. Yes, well, I'm not actually doing any of that at the moment am I folks.

graybo  •  Link

Westwicke was in a most sad pickle.

Is this an early example of this phrase? I thought being in a pickle was much more recent in origin.

Tom Burns  •  Link

... the Dean being but a weak man, though very good.

OK, I give up. Weak, how? Uninfluential, perhaps? A poor conversationalist? Can any of you etymologists out there help out with this?

language hat  •  Link


OED definition, with early citations:

4. a. A (usually disagreeable) condition or situation; a plight, a predicament. Now colloq.
The exact sense in quot. 1562 is unclear.
1562 J. HEYWOOD Dialogue Prov. & Epigr. sig. Uiii, Man is brickell. Freilties pickell. Poudreth mickell, Seasonyng lickell. 1573 T. TUSSER Fiue Hundreth Points Good Husb. 125 Reape barlie with sickle, that lies in ill pickle. 1585 J. FOXE Serm. 2 Cor. v. 21 In this pickle lyeth man by nature, that is, all wee that be Adams children. a1616 SHAKESPEARE Tempest V. i. 284 Alo. How cam'st thou in this pickle? Tri. I haue bin in such a pickle since I saw you last, That [etc.]. 1658 J. MENNES Wit Restor'd 45 What sad plight are we in? what pickles? That we must drink in conventicles? 1672 H. HERBERT Narr. in Camden Misc. XXX. 323 Their superiours.. were in the same pickle.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Estimable, and quicker on the draw than I, LH! :-)

That'll teach me to check for recent entries before clicking the Post button!

language hat  •  Link


There's not enough information to say what exactly Sam meant by this; if I had to guess, I'd pick the OED's definition 9b. "Of a person: Wanting in ability, ill-qualified, unskilled or inefficient"; in other words, the Dean, though a good fellow, wasn't much of a conversationalist.

Araucaria  •  Link

"betimes" and "very betimes":

If it is already light enough to see clearly, you wouldn't say it's *very* early, would you? Betimes seems to be sunrise or shortly before or after -- the sky is bright. Very betimes seems to be about an hour earlier, or first cockcrow. The dawn's early light, if you will :-). The sky is just getting gray.

June 1 Julian = June 11 Gregorian, and there's no daylight savings. Sunrise is about as early as it will in this year's episode of the diary. At this northern latitude, 4AM is very close to sunrise, and it's already pretty bright out (if clear).

OSuzanna  •  Link

"If it is already light enough to see clearly, you wouldn’t say it’s *very* early, would you?"

Some of us most certainly would, thank you very much!

The "remedy" for menses would be time. As Australian Susan points out - either a couple of days of keeping all warm cats on lap duty, or a whole bunch of years. Or was Bess in bed because it would have been expected of a woman of her station? I don't remember any mention of the servant girls being abed of their monthlies.

ignis fatuus  •  Link

'The “remedy” for menses would be [at this] time' sloe wine? later it be that inport from Holland, Gin.
The 'ired Help had to just G[r]in and bare[sic] the pain.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Elizabeth obviously had some serious complaints - endometriosis maybe - not just the usual cramps and backache, so I think is justified in the bed rest.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the Duke having been a-hunting to-day"

Cf. Reresby, Memoirs, p. 45. '[June 1663] This Sommer the Duke took a fancy (ans sometines the King) to buck-hunt in Enfield Chace and the Forest...'. (Per L&M footnote)

The memoirs of Sir John Reresby of Thrybergh, bart., M.P. for York, &c., 1634-1689 (1875)…

Terry Foreman  •  Link


In a footnote and the Index. L&M identify this chap as Sir ______ Estwick, a fencing-master.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

More on Blood's Plot

A history of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland: comprising the civil history of the province of Ulster from the accession of James the First ... [continued ... (Google eBook)…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'To Dr. King, Dean of Tuam (Anglican), he observed in conversation, “The Scots have dealt very ill with me, very ill.”'

Charles II sounds like Donald Trump!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

To clarify the New Theatre encyclopedia entry:
The New Theatre was previously called the Theatre Royal (also known as the Vere Street Theatre). This is where Thomas Killegrew's King's company was established, after renovations to an old indoor tennis court in November, 1660. The company moved to Drury Lane in early 1663, and the building became a site for fencing matches.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Maypole had been taken down during the Interregnum.

By one account a new 134-foot maypole was put up in May 1661 by a party of sailors under James, Duke of York.

By another account, John Clarges is credited with setting up the new Maypole in the Strand at the time of the Restoration, upon its former site. Clarges was farrier to Colonel George Monck, and father of Anne 'Nan' Clarges (who married Monck after serving him during his imprisonment). John Clarges lived over his forge at the junction of the Strand and Drury Lane, near where the Maypole was set up.

I recall reading somewhere that the pole was taken down during the year and hung on the sides of some nearby buildings. I'll post these citations when I find them.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Terry F: "Does anyone else wonder whether there was a 17th-century remedy for menses besides bedrest - for the well-off."

You may have hit the nail on the head. Only well-off women could afford to stay in bed during menstruation, cramps or no, endometriosis or no. Working women got up and went to work, often walking long distances, running up and down stairs and doing heavy lifting. It helped the blood flow and may be the reason they were healthier all around. They couldnt afford to give in to their "monthlies."

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Todd Bernhardt: "Another indication of what Sam considers "betimes" (though I'd thought 5:00 was betimes, and 4:00 "very betimes")."

According to…

It means "early" or "earlier than usual" so it could be any time before Sam's usual rising time.

Presumably he took the word from the KJV Bible, where it appears frequently.

in Genesis 26:31 "they rose up betimes in the morning," also in 2 Chronicles 36:15

Tonyel  •  Link

" So, well pleased for once with this sight,"
I read this as "Glad I have seen it, but I won't bother again". Particularly as it made his head ake all evening.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

RE: weak
I was remembering Tom's speak impediment along with the visitudes of class coupled with disability. Not sure exactly what that would entail but I would imagine Tom's range of friendship options would be restricted. Sam's observation but evidence thereof?

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Sorry, should read "speech impediment". Up betimes...

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

re: ‘ . . the Dean being but a weak man . . ’

I think ‘weak’ here = ‘weak-headed’:

‘ . . 2. Easily overcome by strong liquor.
ˈweak-ˈheadedness n.
1894 Ld. Dufferin in Lady Dufferin's Poems & Verses15 footnote In contrast to Sheridan's weak-headedness, I may cite the instance of my paternal grandfather... He would occasionally begin a convivial evening with what he called a ‘clearer’, i.e., a bottle of port [etc.].’

which fits better than:

‘1. Lacking strength of mind or purpose.
1654 E. Gayton Pleasant Notes Don Quixot iv. ix. 235 Others of their sisternity (very weak headed women, frail vessels) carried not matters so well.
1705 D. Defoe Consolidator in Wks. (1840) IX. 387 A weak-headed prince, who neither had a right to give his crown, nor a brain to know what he was doing . . ‘ [OED]

Good manners required them to limit what they drank to what the Dean could handle.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sloes, the fruit of blackthorn, is the wild ancestor of cultivated plums.

The famous Oetzi (5300 year old mummy found in Austrian glacier in 1991) had stones from dried sloes near the corpse.

The blackthorn's vicious thorns -- and the wounds they caused -- were part of everyday awareness. The translators of the King James Bible in 1611 were probably referring to blackthorn when writing of a 'thorning the flesh', the messenger of Satan.

Blackthorn was considered sinister in the 17th century, as the black wood was used by 'witches'. The notorious sorcerer Major Thomas Weir (1599-1670), who was burned at the stake in Edinburgh, had his magic rod thrown into the flames with him.

Blackthorn's early spring flowers have medicinal value for easing stomach and intestinal pain.

John Parkinson in 1640 wrote that drinking the distilled water of the flowers, preserved in white wine ('sacke') overnight, "is a most certain remedy tried and approved, to ease all manner of gnawings in the stormacke, the sides, heart and bowells".

More info from………

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

This is as close as Pepys comes to mentioning the name of Col. Thomas Blood.


By 1663 six -- unnamed -- former Parliamentarians were behind all the plots Pepys refers to in the Diary.

"A committee had been formed in Dublin to organize and enlist the old Cromwellians in the design and of this committee Thomas Blood and his brother-in-law Mr. Lackie were prominent members. They provided the chief means by which correspondence was maintained with the north Irish Presbyterians in Ulster, and the so-called Cameronians in Scotland, as well as the Nonconformist group in Lancashire and north England, with whom Blood's marriage had given him some connection."

So, for background information on the events to which Pepys will refer to, enjoy this book from 1910.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.